May 7, 2015
Berlin: The Council of Bishops, meeting in Berlin, affirmed a vision for a missional direction for the next quadrennium which includes partnering with schools to help end poverty, starting new faith communities, building a culture of call, reaching children with life-saving interventions, and equipping congregations with disciple-making processes to continue making new disciples and increasing the number of vital congregations.
“Your leadership has led to great success and has changed the denomination in a positive way. We can measure the success, in part, through the growing number of vital congregations we see across the church,” said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, chairperson of the Connectional Table.
The new strategic direction would build on and extend the Four Areas of Focus adopted in 2008 and continue the focus on creating vital congregations, but is flexible enough to allow local churches and annual conferences to adapt it according to what works best in their areas. Goals would be developed by General Conference 2016 that would include measures to aid in tracking progress.
“Developing a strategy within the Four Areas of Focus and Vital Congregations will help measure, organize, and connect the agencies and the annual conferences towards a greater impact in each area of focus so that we can tell the story of our connection … we have nearly a decade worth of success stories that show what United Methodists working together combined with great leadership can achieve,” said Bishop Sally Dyck, chair of the Missional Collaboration Group on Vital Congregations and the Four Areas of Focus.
“Recommitting to the strategic direction of the Four Areas of Focus and Vital Congregations in the next quadrennium will build on the important and fruitful ministry we have started,” said Bishop John Schol, team leader for the Vital Congregations Operations Team along with Discipleship Ministries. “Embracing strategic direction and goals will align us for missional impact around the world.”
About the Council of Bishops
The Council of Bishops provides leadership and helps set the direction of the 12.8 million-member church and its mission throughout the world. The bishops are the top clergy leaders of The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.